Future of Switch gaming

Switch

You don’t go to Nintendo for power.

The main issue many take up with the Nintendo Switch is it’s lack of graphical grunt. Yet anyone citing this as the reason never to get one is missing the point.

Nintendo have not been in the power race since the PSOne’s disc drive knocked them down.

Instead they have innovated and honed down their products.

Where Sony and Microsoft are now nipping at the heels of almighty PC-gaming; Nintendo is the only one still content to make an actual game console. Something people notice under your TV and instinctively want to play with.

While I commend them for this, it is going to generate some problems.

Developers create games that target the range of the current console generation. This annoys PC gamers as few things are optimized to their 8k 120fps goliaths, and it is going to leave the Switch behind because it just won’t be able to run the next wave of big releases.

As I see it, there are five main ways the Switch can attract third-party developers to boost its library.

The first and most inefficient would be for developers to create cut down versions of titles specially for the Switch.

This was done for many titles released on the Wii, unfortunately these usually ended up being rather messy.

Call of Duty was always rough on the Wii.

This method essentially means the developer must create two separate versions of the same game. This requires a bigger time and money investment and is generally just the worst way to go about it.

It creates an environment that encourages rush-jobs, like The Force Unleashed Wii version. Eww.

The next way would be for older titles to be optimised for the Switch. Many people will roll their eyes at this and many did when Skyrim Switch was announced.

Yet I believe it’s a great idea. There are decades worth of home console titles that have never left the living room, now is their chance.

The idea of playing Okami HD, Bayonetta 2 or Far Cry 3 on the bus is an exciting one. I just hope the necessary people agree with me.

The third way that games could be attracted is if Nintendo opens the gate to indie developers. Small teams with big ideas who don’t have the time or resources to animate the individual hairs on Wayne Rooney’s right leg.

Games that find their own ways to look interesting while presenting interesting ideas.

Some promising steps have been taken in this direction, dev-kits are easily accessed and familiar software is compatible. Nintendo are pushing Unity, though Unreal  Engine 4 works and I have heard that C++ does too.

The fourth way is an App store. The Switch is the size of a phablet, has a multi-touch screen, plus motion sensors and IR trackers. It is a perfect platform for app-games.

The Nintendo Store, as it is, just is not quite there. Search options are limited, though this is mainly due to a lack of available titles right now.

A full blown store could have an apps section to sit along-side the triple A titles. Then the Switch could be a device that not only offers the grandeur of Breath of the Wild, but also the five second thrills of Angry Birds.

With apps there is also the option of other practical software. What Switch owner doesn’t want Youtube and Netflix?

The fifth and final way to bulk up the library is a lot like my second option, optimising old home console titles; port old handheld titles.

I know Nintendo have managed to resell the same retro games on he Wii, Wii U and 3DS, but I wouldn’t hold it against them for doing it on the Switch.

Pokemon Leafgreen may not look the prettiest blown up on a 42″ screen, but I still think the option would be neat.

Many DS titles require two screens, but I’m sure there could be a work around to get them on to the Switch’s one screen display.

As it currently is, I am impressed by the Switch but in no way is it fulfilling its potential.

There is a duality to it that I don’t see being embraced. It is a home console AND a handheld, but right now it’ feels like a home console that can begrudgingly be held in your hands.

Nintendo have created a marvelous platform with so many opportunities, now they just need to take them.

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